The Lawrence and Marilyn Matteson Foundation Fund


A business endeavor’s success was more than they could have hoped for, and now that success is allowing Lawrence and Marilyn Matteson to give back to their community. Lawrence Matteson grew up and raised his family in the Green Bay Bottoms area of North Lee County, Iowa. He began his dredging business, L.W. Matteson Inc. in Burlington in the early 1970’s, which grew into one of the largest dredging and marine construction companies in the country. The company removed material from lakes and waterways, and created fish and wildlife habitats throughout the United States. Lawrence’s wife, Marilyn, is retired from John Deere, and they live in Moline, Illinois.

A Successful Beginning

“Our company was surprisingly successful,” Mr. Matteson said. “And I give credit to my math and mechanical drawing teachers in high school for recognizing and challenging my natural ability for machine engineering. Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” After consulting with the Community Foundation, they established The Lawrence and Marilyn Matteson Foundation Fund, a $4 million commitment. Their first gift to this fund is currently the largest gift ever received by the Community Foundation from a living donor. Their Foundation Fund serves as the cornerstone to their charitable plan. It supports the L.W. Matteson Scholarships for Southeastern Community College and the Lawrence and Marilyn Matteson Foundation Scholarships for North Lee County. The Mattesons’ goal for these scholarships is to give students the opportunity to pursue a career in the trades. Eventually, there will be 64 scholarships each year for students studying technical trades, drafting, electronics, welding, pre-engineering, agriculture, construction, and medical technology. “It was difficult to find skilled workers when I owned the business,” said Lawrence. “It’s been evident for quite a few years that we need more young people who have craftsman and trade skills.”

A Shared Vision

Marilyn supports her husband’s thoughts on the shortage of skilled workers and has truly enjoyed the scholarship award process. “Hearing about the students who have benefitted from the scholarships is the most rewarding part of our philanthropy,” said Marilyn. Their Foundation Fund achieves other goals as well. Lawrence and Marilyn are generous supporters of numerous charities in the Quad Cities. Through The Lawrence and Marilyn Matteson Foundation Fund, the couple plans to endow their annual support for a number of nonprofit organizations doing work that is important to them. They hope their giving inspires others to join them in philanthropy that makes a difference. “We never dreamed we would be in this position,” reflects Marilyn. “Our Foundation Fund will be here helping others for generations to come.” With an eye to the future, both Lawrence and Marilyn agree that the biggest impact they could make with their philanthropy is to encourage and inspire others to work hard and to one day pay it forward. 

"Mary and I have been interested in the issue of hunger in the Quad Cities for many, many years. It is great to be able to have an impact."

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Did You Know?

The Community Foundation made its first grant from the Community Impact Endowment in 1967. That grant, of $2,000, was funded by an estate gift from Bea Conrad.
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